Doctors in India Should Get Familiar With the Medical Council of India’s Regulations on Medical Ethics

the current wave of change in the country against corruption, Medindia felt it
is time to remind the doctors about their responsibilities and the regulatory
framework that governs the medical fraternity. One of the areas of concern has
been the nexus that exists between doctors and

and between the diagnostic clinics. Kick-backs for investigations and patient
referrals and favouritism with select pharmas has resulted in tainting of this
noble profession. This report highlights all the amendments that were brought up
by the

in 2009 and called “Indian Medical council
(Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) (Amendment) Regulations, 2009 Part
I”. It reads as follows-

In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 33 of the Indian Medical Council Act,
1956 (102 of 1956), the Medical Council of India with the previous sanction of
the Central Government, hereby makes the following Regulations to amend the
“Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics)
Regulations, 2002:-

1. (i) These Regulations may be called the “Indian Medical council
(Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) (Amendment) Regulations, 2009 Part

(ii) They shall come into force from the date of their publication in the
Official Gazette.

2. in the “Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics)
Regulations, 2002”, the following
additions/medications/decisions/substitutions, shall be, as indicated therein:-

3. The following clause shall be added after clause 6.7:

Code of conduct for doctor and professional association of doctors in their
relationship with pharmaceutical and allied health sector industry.

6.8.1 In dealing with pharmaceutical and allied health sector industry, a
medical practitioner shall follow and adhere to the stipulations given below:-

(a) Gifts: A medical practitioner shall not receive any gift from any
pharmaceutical or allied healthcare industry and their sales people or

(b) Travel facilities: A medical practitioner shall not accept any
travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship,
cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., from any pharmaceutical or allied
healthcare industry or their representatives for self and family members for
vacation or for attending conference, seminars, workshops, CME programme etc.
as a delegate.

(c) Hospitality: A medical practitioner shall not accept individually
any hospitality like hotel accommodation for self and family members under any

(d) Cash or monetary grants: A medical practitioner shall not receive any cash
or monetary grants from any pharmaceutical and allied healthcare industry for
individual purpose in individual capacity under any pretext. Funding for
medical research, study etc., can only be received through approved institutions
by modalities laid down by law/rules/guidelines adopted by such approved
institutions, in a transparent manner. It shall always be fully disclosed.

(e) Medical Research: A medical practitioner may carry out, participate
in, and work in research projects funded by pharmaceutical and allied
healthcare industries. A medical practitioner is obliged to know that the
fulfillment of the following items (1) to (vii) will be an imperative for
undertaking any research assignment/project funded by industry-for being proper
and ethical. Thus, in accepting such a position a medical practitioner shall:-


(i) Ensure that the particular
research proposal(s) has the due permission from the competent concerned
(ii) Ensure that such a research project(s) has the clearance of
national/state/institutional ethics committee/bodies;
(iii) Ensure that it fulfils all the legal requirements prescribed for medical
(iv) Ensure that the source and amount of funding is publicly disclosed at the
beginning itself;
(v) Ensure that proper care and facilities are provided to human volunteers, if
they are necessary for the research projects);
(vi) Ensure that undue animal experimentations are not done and when these are
necessary they are done in a scientific and a humane way;
(vii) Ensure that while accepting such an assignment a medical practitioner
shall have the freedom to publish the results of the research in the greater
interest of the society by inserting such a clause in the MoU or any other
document/agreement for any such assignment.

(f) Maintaining Professional Autonomy: In dealing with pharmaceutical
and allied healthcare industry a medical practitioner shall always ensure that
there shall never be any compromise either with his/her own professional
autonomy and/or with the autonomy and freedom of the medical institution.

(g) Affiliation: A medical practitioner may work for pharmaceutical and
allied healthcare industries in advisory capacities, as consultants, as
researchers, as treating doctors or in any other professional capacity. In
doing so, a medical practitioner shall always:

(i) Ensure that his professional integrity and freedom are maintained:

(ii) Ensure that patients interest are not compromised in any way;

(iii) Ensure that such affiliation are within the law;

(iv) Ensure that such affiliations/employments are fully transparent and

(h) Endorsement: A medical practitioner shall not endorse any drug or
product of the industry publicly. Any study conducted on the efficacy or
otherwise of such products shall be presented to and/or through appropriate
scientific bodies or published in appropriate scientific journals in a proper

Signed by Lt.Col. (Retd.) Dr. A. R. N. SETALVAD, Secy.

[ADVT III/4/100/09-Exty.]

Foot Note: The Principal Regulations namely, “Indian Medical Council
(Professional Conduct, Etiquete and Ethics) Regulations, 2002” were published
in Part III, Section (4) of the Gazette of India on the 6th April, 2002, and
amended vide MCI notification, dated 22-2-2003 and 26-5-2004.

The full report on Medical Ethics is available on Medical Council of India’s

Many doctors are unaware of
these regulations and continue to violate the ethical norms by accepting gifts
such as pens, pads, diaries and other small and big items. Some of the
pharmaceuticals too have been ignoring and violating this framework.
Implementation of the framework is always a challenge as no one complains
against anyone unless there is an outcry from a patient or occasionally from
the public or the media. There have been some instances where the MCI officers
have taken cognizance of erring doctors but the number of such actions are too
few to send a strong message for the change. Similar framework in the United States
of America has made a difference and it is obligatory for doctors attending
conferences or seminars to make their declarations on affiliations at the start
of their presentations. Before submission of abstracts or articles to journals
such declarations have become a routine exercise.

The doctors in India need to make this change from within and bring back the nobleness in the
profession by standing up and refusing such gifts and favours. Self-regulation
is the best form of governance to embark on the change in the way we practice
medicine in India.

Source: Medindia

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